UEF Presidents

1947-1949

Henri Brugmans

(1906-1997)

Born on 13 December in 1906 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, he witnessed how rapidly the world changed after 1914. His political activism began towards the end of his studies when he joined The Flemish Movement. In 1947 he became the first President of the Union of European Federalists. Brugmans contributed to the foundation of the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium and became its first rector serving from 1950 to 1972. He was awarded the Charlemagne Prize in 1951, which recognises people who have contributed to the promotion of European ideals and values and who have worked towards European unity.

1950-1952

Henry Frenay

(1905-1988)

A politician and military officer, Henri Frenay was born in Lyon, France on 11 November 1905. He studied at the Centre of Germanic Studies in Strasbourg before joining the French Army. In February 1941 he joined the French Resistance and was involved in the publication of several underground newspapers, such as Les Petities Ailes, Vérités and Combat. In November 1943 Frenay met future French President Charles De Gaulle, who later appointed him as a minister of prisoners, refugees and deportees. His faith in the European construction motivated him to participate in The Congress of Europe in The Hague in 1948. In 1950 Frenay became UEF President and worked tirelessly to convince governments to abandon the framework of nation states, create a single European currency and build a European army.

1955-1956

Altiero Spinelli

(1907-1988)

Altiero Spinelli was born on 31 August 1907 in Rome, Italy. He joined the Communist Party aged 17 and was imprisoned and exiled by the fascist regime for 18 years. While confined to the island of Ventotene, together with Ernesto Rossi, he wrote the Ventotene Manifesto calling for a free and united Europe. In 1943 Spinelli founded the Movimento Federalista Europeo (MFE) in Milan and helped to gather federalists in a European organisation. He was President of UEF between 1955 and 1956. Working in various roles, including as an advisor to political leaders including Alcide De Gasperi, Paul-Henri Spaak and Jean Monnet, Spinelli worked ceaselessly for European unification. He promoted federalist ideas as a European Commissioner and then as a member of the first democratically-elected European Parliament. In 1980, together with other federalist-minded MEPs, he founded ‘The Crocodile Club’ to call for institutional reform and the creation of a ‘European Union’, leading to the European Parliament’s proposal for a Treaty on a federal European Union - the so-called ‘Spinelli Treaty’. The main building of the European Parliament in Brussels is named in his honour.

1956-1957

Grigore Gafencu

(1892-1957)

Grigore Gafencu planned a federalist future for the European continent on May 1943, when he wrote the introduction of his book Préliminaires de la guerre à l'Est. He thought that the crisis of Europe could take to a healthy reaction and that European idea indeed would revive more powerful and more fertile.

Member of the Central Council of the European Union of Federalists (Uef) from 1947, he never participated in the discussions following the fall of the European Defence Community (Edc). For this reason, on 1956 he was elected president of the movement to avoiding the split.

For the federalists of the East in exile, he embodied the indissoluble link between enslaved and free Europe and their will to be unified in a world free from every form of totalitarianism.

1957 - 1959

Alexandre Marc

(1904-2000)

Alexandre Marc (born Alexandr Markovitch Lipiansky in Odessa, Ukraine) was a French philosopher and writer, leader and theorist of European federalism. He participated in the creation of the group ‘La Federation’ and was president of the Union of European Federalists (1957-59), the leader of the European Federalist Movement and founder of the journal ‘L’Europe en formation’. He also founded the Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE) in 1954. Marc dedicated his whole professional life to the promotion of federalist ideas and authored numerous books outlining his concept of integral federalism while working as a professor at a number of international schools.

1964-1975

Etienne Hirsch

(1901-1994)

Étienne Hirsch was a French engineer committed to European ideals and a close associate of Jean Monnet since meeting him in Algeria in 1943. In 1950 he participated in the development of the Schuman plan. In 1952 Hirsch succeeded Jean Monnet as Commissioner General, a post he occupied until 1959. From 1959 to 1962 he served as President of the Commission of the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). In 1963 Hirsch became a professor at the Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels. He was President of the Union of European Federalists between 1964 and 1975. Between 1966 and 1968 he was in charge of Planning as part of the ‘counter-government’ led by François Mitterrand (1966-1968).

1975-1984

Mario Albertini

(1919-1997)

A philosopher, political scientist and professor of political philosophy at the University of Pavia, he dedicated his professional life to the promotion of federalism. He led the Italian Movimento Federalista Europeo (MFE/UEF Italy) from 1966 until his death. In 1959 he became the founding editor of the publication ‘The Federalists’ (LINK) and served as President of the Union of European Federalists from 1975 until 1984. Through his books and essays, he provided a major contribution to the theory of European federalism and the federalist interpretation of the European integration process.

1984-1987

John Pinder

(1925-2015)

John Pinder was a pioneer of public policy studies and a prominent British proponent of European federalism. After serving during the Second World War in the West African Artillery, he became a press officer at the Federal Union in 1950. Pinder was President of the Union of European Federalists from 1984 until 1990 and active in the European Movement in the UK and internationally. He published extensively on the politics, economics and history of the EC/EU and of federalism. He is the author of numerous books, including ‘The Building of the European Union’ and ‘The European Union: a Very Short Introduction’.

1991-1997

Francesco Rossollillo

(1937-2005)

Francesco Rossolillo was born in Pavia in 1937. Already at the time of his university studies, he matured the political choice that would mark his life as a militant federalist and scholar.

He joined the Movimento Federalista Europeo at a very young age and later became Secretary of the Italian Commission, a member of the Central Committee and the National Executive.

At the European level, he was a member of the Federal Committee and the Bureau exécutif of the UEF, of which he was President from 1991 to 1997.

He was part of the founding group of the magazine 'Il Federalista' LINK, which he edited from 1997 until his death in 2004.

1997-2005

Jo Leinen

(1948- present)

Leinen was Chairman of the German section of the Young European Federalists (JEF) from 1977 to 1979 and a member of its Federal Committee at European level, then chaired by Richard Corbett. He was European Secretary of the youth section of the SPD (Jusos) and Vice-President of the European Environment Bureau (EEB) in Brussels from 1979 to 1984.

He was member in the Committee of the Regions from 1995 to 1999 and in the Congress of the Regions and Communes of the Council of Europe. Currently, he is member of different organisations of culture, social and sport; and also vice-president of EUROSOLAR e.V (1988-2005). From 1999 until 2019 he was Member of the European Parliament (MEP) with Social Democratic Party, part of the Party of European Socialists.

He was President of the UEF (1997–2005). He served as vice-president of the European Movement International from 2005 to 2011 until in November 2011 he was elected president of the organisation.

2005-2008

Mercedes Bresso

(1944- present)

Born in Sanremo, Liguria, she received her degree in Economics in 1969. From 1989 onwards, Bresso was a member of the provincial, regional and national party executives of the Democrats of the Left. 1995–2004, she was the President of the Turin Province, and, a Member of Regional Council (1985–1995) and of the Regional Executive (1994–1995) with responsibility for regional planning in Piedmont. She was a member of the Committee of the Regions and its Bureau 1998–2004. Between 2005 and 2010, she was President of the Piedmont region.

Since 2002, she is the Italian Vice-Chairperson of AICCRE; 2000–2004, she was Chairperson of the World Federation of United Cities, and, 2004–2005, founding Chairperson of the Organisation Cités et Gouvernements locaux Unis.

Between March 2005 and October 2008, she was President of the Union of European Federalists (UEF).

2008-2013

Andrew Duff

(1950 – present)

He was educated at Sherborne School and St John's College, Cambridge.
He was Member of European Parliament from 1999 until 2014.

Between October 2008 and November 2013 Andrew Duff was president of the Union of European Federalists (UEF). On 15 September 2010 Duff together with UEF initiated the Spinelli Group, which was founded to reinvigorate the strive for federalisation of the European Union (EU). Other prominent supporters are: Jacques Delors, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Guy Verhofstadt, Elmar Brok.

He was a City Councillor in Cambridge from 1982 to 1990 and was Vice-President of the Liberal Democrats from 1994 to 1997. At the 1992 general election he stood against the then-Prime Minister, John Major, in the Huntingdon constituency, coming in third place with 12% of the vote. In October 2007 he joined the European Council on Foreign Relations.

2013-2018

Elmar Brok

(1946- present)

Elmar Peter Brok (born 14 May 1946) is a German politician who served as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1980 until 2019, who is best known for his role as chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs. He is a member of the CDU, which is part of the European People's Party.

An MEP from 1980 until 2019, Brok held many leadership positions in German and European politics. As a member of the Convention on the Constitution for Europe and in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Brok is widely credited with contributing crucially to the Constitution of the European Union. He was elected President of the Union of European Federalists in 2013.

2018-2023

Sandro Gozi

(1968-present)

Sandro Gozi is an Italian politician formerly of the Democratic Party who has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2020. He was a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies from 2006 to 2018 and was elected to the European Parliament in 2019, representing France on the list of Macron's LREM. On 28 February 2014 Gozi joined the Renzi Cabinet as Under-Secretary for European Affairs in the office of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.[3] Despite not receiving the title of Minister, as his predecessors, Gozi was tasked with coordinating, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the six months of Italy's Presidency of the EU Council.
He was elected President of UEF in 2018 and lead the UEF until July 2023

2023 - current

Domènec Ruiz Devesa

(1978 - current)

Domènec Ruiz Devesa, from the UEF Spain section lawyer, economist and political scientist. Former senior advisor at the Ministry for the Presidency, a parliamentary assistant at the European Parliament, and the deputy chief of cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he is very active in European federalism since 2013, co-founding UEF Madrid and UEF Spain. After the UEF Congress in Vienna, he has
been engaged as an active member of the FC of UEF Europe. Currently, a Member of the European Parliament in May 2019 and S&D spokesperson in the Committee of Constitutional Affairs. In the European Parliament works closely with the Spinelli Group in order to make progress in the federalist roadmap. He is President ad interim since 3 August 2023 and then elected President by the Congress on November 2023.

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